Acupuncture for animals in pain? Sounds barking
Like most bull mastiffs, three-year-old Nellie loves nothing more than a long, vigorous walk. But when her owner, Heather Smith, bought Nellie at eight weeks old, in September 2003, it didn’t take long to realise that something was seriously wrong. “When Nellie walked, she was wobbly on her hind legs,” she recalls. “Her legs were bowed and sometimes she seemed in pain.”
Her vet took X-rays, which revealed a genetic condition called hip dysplasia. In Nellie’s hind legs the balls at the end of the femurs do not fit snugly into their sockets, and are ragged, impairing proper movement. Hip dysplasia is a degenerative condition that can, in severe cases, leave dogs immobile. Often the only solution is a hip replacement. “My vet told me that the joints on her hind legs would become severely arthritic,” says Smith, a full-time carer from Burlesdon, Southampton. “At the time I could walk her for only ten minutes on a lead so she didn’t overdo it. It’s heartbreaking when a dog can’t even run across the beach.”
The vet recommended a double hip replacement when Nellie was fully grown. But the operation is traumatic and has a long recovery time. Anti-inflammatory drugs are often prescribed, but a blood test revealed an underfunctioning kidney that might be aggravated by medication. Soon after the diagnosis, Smith began taking Nellie for twice-weekly, 30-minute aquatherapy sessions at a pool for dogs. It kept Nellie exercised but didn’t change the long-term prognosis.
Source - Times